It’s not just an issue of convenience; staying hydrated is essential for your overall health. Water plays a diverse and important function in maintaining your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy adult should drink between 11.5 cups (92 ounces) and 15.5 cups (124 ounces) of fluids every day.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults only consume an average of 5.5 cups (44 ounces) of water each day. Water offers several physiological advantages, including aiding good digestion, controlling body temperature, and improving respiratory health.
Your lungs are a complicated and fragile organ of your body that plays an important function in breathing. It is critical to keep your lungs hydrated with a steady flow of water in order for them to operate optimally. This allows your lungs to do their delicate work of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide, allowing you to breathe more easily.
One of the key ways that dehydration affects the respiratory system is by decreasing mucus production. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mucus is an important component of our body’s defense system against airborne contaminants, irritants, and infections.
It functions as a lubricant, trapping foreign particles and preventing them from reaching the sensitive lung tissues. When dehydration sets in, the body conserves water, which generally results in a reduction in mucus production. As a result, because enough mucus provides a protective barrier, the respiratory airways become more sensitive to irritation and infection.
According to a 2018 study published in Thorax, dehydration reduces the flexibility of your lung tissues. This makes it more difficult for your lungs to expand and collapse effectively with each breath. When your lung tissues are dehydrated, they lose elasticity, making breathing more difficult and raising your risk of lung problems.
According to a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, the link between dehydration and respiratory problems is even stronger in people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, or asthma.
Dehydration can aggravate the symptoms of these illnesses, causing greater shortness of breath, coughing, and pain. In COPD, for example, the airways are already restricted and irritated, and dehydration can further constrict these air passageways, making breathing even more difficult.
Dehydration can make breathing difficult and provoke asthma episodes and allergic responses. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, dehydration can cause thickening of the mucus layer in the airways, making breathing more difficult and potentially triggering EIA and anaphylaxis.
It can also cause increased airway resistance, inflammation, and decreased airway surface liquid production, all of which can render the lungs’ airways more vulnerable to constriction. Adequate hydration is essential for oxygen transmission from the lungs to the rest of the body. Dehydration can cause decreased blood volume and thicker blood (according to the Mayo Clinic), affecting the body’s capacity to carry oxygen properly.
This is especially problematic for people who already have reduced oxygen exchange due to lung illness. Staying hydrated is critical for maintaining your body in good health, especially your lungs. Make water your go-to drink, and keep a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go, to ensure you’re getting enough fluids.
Remember to sip water throughout the day rather than waiting until you’re thirsty, as thirst is frequently an indication that you’re already dehydrated. If plain water bores you, try adding a piece of lemon or cucumber for a pleasant variation.
You may add hydrating items to your diet in addition to drinking water. Water-rich fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges, can be especially healthy (according to Healthline).
These meals not only keep you hydrated, but they also give your body critical vitamins and minerals that promote lung function and general health. You may enhance your lung health and general well-being by making water a priority and implementing it into your daily routine.